Flash in the Pan: All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour Mix
[Sometimes, you just want a dish that's quick and easy--no fuss. I've decided to offer a mini-post every once in a while, for a dish that comes together incredibly quickly or else is so simple to make that no recipe is required. Here's today's "Flash in the Pan." (For other FitP recipes, see "Categories" at right).]
[Toasted Coconut Cupcakes using this recipe and subbing the gluten-free AP mix for the regular flour ( plus 1/2 tsp xanthan gum) and coconut sugar for the sugar; frosted with my allergen-free Chocolate Buttercream Frosting]
I know that every gluten free baker has her or his own favorite GF “mix.” Some like a more starch-based mix; some like a more protein-based one. My first approach (for these pancakes) was to combine a little of each type of gluten free flour (that is, the grains, the legumes and the starches), but of course there are also nut flours and coconut to contend with these days. This is why I love gluten-free baking so much: the possibilities are endless!
While I’m neither a chemist nor an official pastry chef (though I did take some courses in our local chef’s program–so much fun!), I’ve got more than 40 years’ experience baking in the kitchen, first with Mom, then on my own, now with The Girls giving me their intense, blink-free “border collie stare“ whenever I pull out the food processor. (“Well, duh, Mum! Remember Pavlov? We’ve figured out that the processor usually means there will be something for us when you’re through.“) Using the final product as my gauge, I recently came up with a new gluten free all-purpose mix of my own that I replaced one-for-one instead of wheat all-purpose flour in existing recipes. I’ve now made cupcakes, pancakes, waffles and cookies, and they’ve all come out great!
What’s the reasoning behind my mix? Well, first off, I knew the major grain would be millet. I rarely eat wholegrain millet on its own, but I find that millet flour provides the same mild, neutral base as wheat flour–it holds up well with intense flavorings and is unassuming enough to serve as a perfect foil for delicate flavors like lemon or vanilla. I also wanted to include a bean-based flour for its higher protein content, plus starch. My favorite starch these days is potato starch since it’s grain-free and, I find, serves very much the same purpose that cornstarch did in my glutenous baking. I combined it with arrowroot, which is a little lighter than the potato.
To determine the flour ratios, I decided to check out the protein content in regular (wheat) flour and try to approximate the same in my mix. I knew that gluten-free flours don’t produce the same results as wheat unless combined, but also that gluten is, itself, a protein.
According to Fine Cooking magazine, all-purpose wheat flour contains 9-12% protein. Millet flour weighs in about the same. So, of my remaining flours, I wanted a similar protein content of about 10-15%, just like the wheat (and the millet). Bean flour contains more like 20-25% protein, and starches have almost nil. So, I reasoned, the half of the mix that is millet already approximates the composition of wheat flour; and the bean flour should be measured out to about half the other two combined (to decrease its protein content by half, to about 12%). In other words, for each 1 part millet, I needed 1/3 garfava and 1/3 each of potato and arrowroot. And–voila!–I had the ratio for a perfect gluten free all-purpose mix.
My first thing I made was the Toasted Coconut Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, pictured above. The result: an incredibly moist, tender crumb and fabulous chocolate-coconut flavor.
I also made another batch of my Carob Refrigerator Cookies with the new flour, as well as buckwheat waffles for breakfast this morning (though we gobbled them up before I could snap a pic, they looked just like the ones I made last time, below).
[Buckwheat Waffles, gluten free]
As a rule, I still love using different blends of gluten-free flours for my current baking. After all, I don’t always want a totally neutral flavor–sometimes I’d like the quinoa, or amaranth, to shine through. On the other hand, I’d love to be able to revamp all of the spelt-based recipes on this blog, one by one. . . and this is the all-purpose flour I’ll use to do it.
Do you have a great all-purpose gluten free mix that you use? Which one is it? Feel free to share a link or the recipe in the comments!
Ricki’s All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour Mix (ACD Stage 2 and beyond)
This is a great basic all-purpose gluten free flour mix that you can use anywhere you’d use all-purpose wheat flour, in the same proportion. For recipes that require pastry or bread flour, you might like to play around with the ratios or even use other flours instead of one of the ones listed here. I haven’t added xanthan gum since some people avoid it, but I generally include 1/2-3/4 tsp (2.5-3.5 ml) xanthan per cup when I bake with this flour.
2 cups (270 g) millet flour
2/3 cup (100 g) garfava flour (you can use chickpea instead)
2/3 cup (120 g) potato starch
2/3 cup (90 g) arrowroot starch or powder (or substitute tapioca or cornstarch)
Place all ingredients in a large bowl and stir with a whisk until the flour is evenly blended. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator if you won’t be using it within a week or 10 days (will keep up to 6 weeks in the fridge). Measure as you would wheat-based all-purpose flour. Makes 4 cups.
Last Year at this Time: Flash in the Pan: Freshly Dressed and Saucy
Two Years Ago: Dog Day: Where’s Mum?
Three Years Ago: Radish and Grapefruit Salad
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